Study Questions Physician Drug-Coated-Balloon Practices

Medtech Market Intelligence company Millennium Research Group (MRG), says physicians who use drug-coated balloons (DCB), also known as drug-eluting balloons (DEB), to treat peripheral artery disease, particularly in the lower extremities, lack awareness of some aspects of DCB function, which limits perceived effectiveness and inhibits wider adoption of these devices.


A new MRG report, The Use of Drug-Coated Balloons in Peripheral Vascular Interventions (Europe), is one of the company’s Physician Forum family of surveys. These are reports produced in response to specific market events and trends that are expected to have significant effects on utilization and sales of medical devices.

Surveys were conducted in June 2013 and included 200 physicians. Survey respondents were interventional cardiologists, interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons, with a total of 40 physicians each from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

It’s an interesting concept in market intelligence gathering. The idea that not only does the company survey current practices, but they do so critically in a way that might reveal patterns truly useful for the companies who they’re targeting with the report. One example from this particular study is the use of vessel predilation, which is considered to have an important influence on DCB procedure efficacy. MRG says if the vessel is not predilated, some of the drug will be lost upon delivery to the lesion site. The survey, however, shows vascular surgeons predilate in fewer than half of the lesions they treat with DCB. Of the total number of physicians surveyed, 10 percent never predilate at all. This modest use of predilation may result in poorer clinical outcomes, and thus influence physician perception of the efficacy of DCB treatment.

And there’s more: According to the survey, physician opinions differed significantly on how long it takes a drug to diffuse through an artery wall, and how long the drug would remain in the deeper cell layers of the vessel wall. Knowledge of the actual speed and duration was limited. Both of these also affect their perceptions of the efficacy of a given device.

So, what’s the punchline? Well, if the survey reports are to be taken at face value it looks like there may be an educational need that the savvy DCB company will be aiming to exploit right around now.

Company comments

“There is clearly room for more robust clinical evidence and improved physician education on the mechanism of action for DCB,” said Product Manager Stephanie LaBelle. “Manufacturers who are able to establish more clear evidence regarding the speed of drug diffusion and the duration of the drug in the vessel wall would boost physician confidence in DCB efficacy and increase adoption.”

Source: Millennium Research Group